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Everything from dramatic landscapes, geothermal wonderlands, sparkling lakes and stately forests will leave you with an unforgettable holiday experience.
Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland, complete with billowing steam and a faint scent of sulphur lingering over the city. The best place to experience these forces of nature is at the geothermal parks and reserves.
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is well-known for its colourful waters and features the famed Champagne Pool, named for the carbon dioxide that produces champagne-like bubbles within the 74º pool with its distinctive orange edging.
Erupting up to 20 plus times a day to heights of 30 metres, the Pohutu Geyser is the undisputed star of Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley at Te Puia. Hells Gate is New Zealand’s most active geothermal reserve and has the country’s only mud baths, while Waimangu Volcanic Valley is the youngest geothermal eco-system in the world with the largest hot water spring called Frying Pan Lakes at 3.8 hectares.
If you're after thrills, Rotorua is one of New Zealand’s top adventure playgrounds and boasts world-first activities such as the Shweeb – a human powered monorail ride - the Zorb or OGO which gives visitors the chance to roll downhill in a plastic globe. You can also hurtle down Mt Ngongotaha on a Luge track at Skyline Rotorua and visit Off Road NZ, home to New Zealand’s newest and longest A–rated KartSport circuit.
Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa forest is one of the world’s best mountain biking destinations, with 130km of trails weaving through native ferns and exotic forest. As for white water rafting – it has never been more adrenalin pumping than on the Kaituna River with 14 rapids and the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world at 7 metres high!
Relax in the Spa of the South Pacific
If you need to wind-down after all that adrenalin, relaxation can be found in rejuvenating therapies which spring from thermal activity unlike anything you’ll see elsewhere in the world. Indulge in a decadent soak in the thermal waters which have curative and invigorating properties while overlooking Lake Rotorua, geothermal landscapes and native forest scenery.
Slide into a silk-like glorious mud bath and be pampered with cleansing and purifying mud therapies. You can also treat yourself to contemporary award-winning spa treatments.
There are also 16 sparkling lakes dotted around Rotorua which make the area an aquatic paradise. All an easy drive from the city centre, the serene lakes are uncrowded, fringed with native bush and covered in soft golden sand – the perfect spots to chill out in seclusion.
These lakes, combined with nearby rivers and streams, also make Rotorua a fisherman’s dream with trophy trout to be caught year round. Cook your catch on a thermal beach or have it served to you at a city restaurant.
Among the 16 gems is the Blue Lake, a popular swimming, water-skiing and picnic spot with a picturesque 5.5km bush walk circling the lake. Okareka has a lake-edge DOC camp, while majestic Okataina offers excellent walking tracks, great fishing and a lakeside lodge. Nearby Rotoma is renowned for its crystal-clear water and sheltered, white sand bays.
Lake Rotoiti features thermal bathing pools, called the Manupirua Springs, which are only accessible by water, and Lake Tarawera’s hot water beach is relaxing to bathe in.
There are numerous spots for swimming, kayaking, wind surfing, stand up paddle boarding, wakeboarding, skiing and biscuiting on the lakes, as well as pontoons and jumping rocks for those that love making a splash.
If you’re looking for The Big Splash, Rotorua’s newest attraction, head to Rainbow Springs to enjoy the 8-minute water ride which showcases New Zealand’s ecological evolution featuring two 6 metre lifts and a 25 metre plunge at the finale.
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